I never looked up the details of this beforehand, erroneously assuming that it would be based on the play of exactly the same name and adapted by David Hare, where Nicole Kidman created a stir on the London stage (and later on Broadway) by appearing eight years ago completely nude in a small, intimate theatre. (Unsurprisingly ,the entire run was a sell-out!)
Anyway, it turned out not to be that, but rather an adaptation by its main star, Mathieu Amalric (that hottie, who also directs this film) of a Georges Simenon novel. As it transpired, I had no cause to be disappointed as the film is a goodie, though in saying that I am at variance with quite a number of reviews I've only just now read.
It's a crime drama (entirely in French), but what's unusual about this is that near the start we see Amalric under police interrogation, but it's not until right towards the the end of the film that we eventually discover what the actual crime was. By a series of flashbacks from interrogation, we see Amalric in a series of amorous assignations - complete with brief, full-frontals of both parties - in an hotel room with a married lover (Stephanie Cleau). During the police questioning we get to know more and more of what has happened through further flashbacks as if peeling back a series of layers, including his own life with wife (Lea Drucker) and their 10-year old daughter. Although we can see that he's obviously under arrest, we are left in the dark for a considerable while as to knowing what the precise charge is. Has someone been killed or has disappeared? - his lover.....her husband.... his own wife? Has the alleged crime even got anything to do with his illicit affair? It actually goes considerably deeper than that.
The film is at an agreeably slender 75 minutes, a brevity to which many much longer films ought to have aspired. (Do you hear that, Bridget J?) It doesn't have a chance to get boring at any point and never even approaches it because the level of intrigue regarding unanswered questions from the audience keeps us keenly absorbed.
Acting and direction I have no complaints about. I thought the superficial warmth between Amalric and his wife was particularly well observed, they both recognising that it concealed a mutual emotional estrangement without putting it into words.
I liked this a lot, and have no regrets about seeing it even if I was in error regarding expectations. If I'd known that it had nothing to do with what I'd thought it was I might well not have bothered, and that would have been a pity...............7.5.
3 hours ago